Structural changes to a community are a costly endeavor. Don't let the price tag of creating change scare you from building a better community. Rather, be creative about money sources and remember "Yes we can!"
- Charles Grosenick, Co-Author, BRIGHT
One of the most important aspects of any Corridor Project is obtaining the necessary funds. This chapter will explain different opportunities available to communities to raise these funds. While communities are often able to raise small amounts of capital from crowdfunding, successful Corridor Projects almost always require outside financing due to the cost.
Don’t let this necessity be an impediment to creating a more beneficial community through your Corridor Project. Rather, think about your community’s competitive advantages and how to create a strategic vision for well-managed development. Think “what do we want to be” rather than “how do we pay for it.”
One way to think about this is to choose a location for the revitalization project that bridges areas of the city together. More foot traffic=more business=more money. Once you create the vision, accept input rather than substitutions. Let this chapter guide you through the opportunities available at your disposal.
While reading this chapter, think about the ways these financial resources can be combined to give you the greatest financial leverage and flexibility. Think about how one large source of funding can be used to draw additional sources of financing and how these financial resources can decrease the financial risk of one (or more) financial sources failing to materialize.
One example is to obtain a large anchor tenant (such as a grocery store) in a shopping center. This anchor tenant draws in other tenants, and in turn these additional tenants will make it easier for you to obtain loans from financial institutions and decrease the risk associated with one of the tenants walking away.
Another aspect to examine is how the end uses in your community can fund your revitalization project. For example, creating a water reclamation plant can lead to financing through potential grants and tax credits as seen below, while also enticing banks, foundations, and environmentally friendly organizations to invest in your community. This approach can maximize community resources by generating additional outside capital which reduces the necessity for communities to fund every aspect of a revitalization plan.
Information is key to successfully funding your community revitalization plan. When starting, it is helpful to obtain information from community development financial institutions, community development corporations/agencies, and/or the Community Reinvestment Act functions of banks.
In addition, collecting data on the process (initial investment, projected profit per tenant, etc.) will greatly increase the likelihood that you successfully finance your community revitalization project. This data should be kept in a budget which is regularly updated. Some examples can be found here:
A strong community revitalization financing plan incorporates the following:
Last, don’t be afraid to break up your revitalization plan into smaller units. Often it is easier to complete smaller individual projects than one large revitalization plan.
This section covers financial opportunities in the DC area. The reader should use this to guide their efforts in determining what kind of financial opportunities may be available in their own local area.
Some DC incentives include:
Solar Renewable Energy Credits:
These are credits issued for every megawatt hour (MWh) of solar electricity generated and can be sold to electricity providers (DC rate is $480/MWH).
Site Acquisition Funding Initiative:
Loans to fund acquisition and predevelopment costs to nonprofit developers committed to the production, rehabilitation, and preservation of affordable housing.
These initiatives help low-income customers reduce their energy bills through the purchase of renewable energy and increased energy efficiency.
RiverSmart Washington (DC Initiatives to install green infrastructure):
Supermarket Tax Credit:
DC initiative that waives certain taxes and fees to supermarkets choosing to locate in underserved areas.
Office of the Deputy Mayor of Planning and Economic Development:
Opportunities that may be expired
The goal of a resiliency corridor is to revitalize a community area through methods designed to decrease future costs due to climate change, health hazards, and the contamination of water, air, and soil. This can be financed by the following methods:
A good example of a resiliency corridor focused on preparing an area for climate change is San Francisco’s Islais Creek Southeast Mobility and Adaption Strategy. This strategy focused on collaboration from a bevy of interested parties to create “adaption pathways” which aim to protect a diverse residential and municipal industrial area from floods while also enhancing transportation, jobs, nature, and equity.
Another good example is the Spicket River Greenway in Lawrence, Massachusetts. This project revitalized a 2.5 mile stretch of the Spicket River through "ongoing cleanup, enforcement, education, and advocacy activities." Groundwork Lawrence, a community-based non-profit, collaborated with project partners to leverage $3.7 million in funds for the development of new parks and open space along the Spicket River. Their fundraising efforts tapped a variety of foundations like the Jessie B.Cox Charitable Trust, Essex CountyCommunity Foundation, ClipperShip Foundation, and Massachusetts Environmental Trust. Read more about the project here and Groundwork Lawrence's other work here.
The video below highlights the success of the Spicket River Greenway project.